Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Chapter 69 [part 3 of 4]

[How Galaor and Norandel met Dinarda and her damsel, and how they fell in and out of love.] 

[Illustration from Roman de la Rose, written by Guillaume de Lorris in the 1200s and made into a manuscript for Count Engelbert of Nassau around 1487.]


Arcalaus left quickly because night had already fallen, but the moon shone bright. He was taken over a ridge, then left that road and took another more hidden route that he knew.

The two knights agreed that, since their horses were tired and night had come, they would rest alongside the spring.

“If that is what ye want,” Sir Galaor’s squire said, “an even better shelter is available than ye might think.”

“What is that?” Norandel said.

“Know,” he answered, “that the old building amid those brambles, the two damsels are hiding who were traveling with the knight on the stretcher.”

They dismounted next to the spring, washed their faces and hands, and went to where the damsels were. They entered through some narrow openings, and Sir Galaor shouted:

“Who is hidden here? Give me that fire, and I shall make them come out.”

Dinarda, when she heard this, was afraid and said:

“Oh, my lord knight, have mercy, for I shall come out.”

“Then come out,” he said, “so I shall see who ye are.”

“Help me,” she said, “for I can get out no other way.”

Galaor approached her, and she held out her arms, lit by the moonlight. He took her by the hands and helped her out from where she had been hiding. He was deeply struck by her, for he had never seen a damsel who looked so fair. She wore a scarlet skirt and a cape of white fur. Norandel helped out the other damsel, and they brought them to the spring, where they enjoyed the food that the squires had brought and what they found on one of Arcalaus’s packhorses.

Dinarda was afraid that Galaor would find out that she had imprisoned his father and brothers, so she desperately wished for him to become enamored of her and want her love, which until then she had given to no one. She gazed at him with desirous eyes and praised his handsome appearance to her damsel, all with the thought that, if he were to take her love and he were to find out afterwards, he would not wish to do her harm.

Galaor, given his ways, had no other thought than how to make her willingly become his beloved, and soon came to know that she was very willing; so after supper, he left Norandel with the damsel and, chatting, took Dinarda into some underbrush in the forest. He began to embrace her, and she threw her arms around his neck, showing him great love although she despised him, as some women sometimes do out of fear or selfish greed rather than happiness. So it happened that she who until that time had often needed to protect her chastity, for she had been desired by many lovers whom she had cast aside, now found herself with her enemy through adverse fate, although she considered it an advantage; and she changed from damsel to lady.

Norandel, who had remained with the damsel, had great hopes that she would give him her love because he was very struck by her, but she told him:

“Ye may do your will by force, but by my will it shall not be done unless my lady Dinarda orders it so.”

Norandel said:

“Is this Dinarda the daughter of Ardan Canileo, whom they say has come to this land to get advice from Arcalaus the Sorcerer about how to avenge her father’s death?”

“I do not know why she came here,” she said, “but she is the one of whom ye speak, and know that the knight who has attained her love has had great good fortune, because she is a damsel who has been coveted and desired by more men than any other, but until now no one could have her.”

At that, Galaor and Dinarda returned, who had enjoyed their leisure together, but not equally. Instead, I say that her sadness was greater than his pleasure. Norandel took Galaor aside and said:

“Do ye not know who this damsel is?”

“No more than ye do,” he said.

“Then know that she is Dinarda, daughter of Ardan Canileo, whom your cousin Mabilia told you had come to this land to seek the death of Amadis by trickery.”

Sir Galaor thought about that and said:

“Of her heart I know nothing besides that it seemed to show that she loved me dearly, and I would not wish to do her harm for anything in the world because of all the woman I have seen she is the one who has made me the happiest, and I do not wish her to be separated from me. Since we are going to Gaul, I will find a way to have Amadis make some amends to her so that she will forgive him.”

As they were talking, Dinarda was with her damsel and learned how she had not wished to consent to Norandel’s request, and how she had told him who she was, which Dinarda regretted, and said:

“My friend, in such times discretion means we must deny our wills, for otherwise we shall be in great danger. I ask you to do what that knight wishes, and let us show them love until we find a way to leave them.”

She said she would do so. Sir Galaor and Norandel, after they had spoken for a while, returned to the damsels, and spent part of the night talking and playing with them amid laughter and pleasure. Then, each man took his partner and lay down on beds of grass their squires had made, where they slept and enjoyed themselves all night.

Sir Galaor asked Dinarda the name of the evil knight who had wanted to kill them, and he meant the knight he had killed, but she understood that he meant the knight in the stretcher, and she told him:

“How did ye not know when ye approached the stretcher that he was Arcalaus? The knights ye defeated were his.”

“Really?” Sir Galaor said. “That was Arcalaus?”

“Yes, he truly was,” she said.

“Oh Holy Mary!” he said. “What subtlety he used to escape death.”

When Dinarda heard that they had not killed him, she was the happiest woman in the world, but she did not show it. She said:

“Earlier today I would have given my life for his, but now that I have your love and your mercy and restraint, I hope he will suffer an ignoble death because I know that he deeply despises you, and what he wishes for you and your family may God be pleased to have befall upon him.”

And she embraced him and showed him all the love she could. And so, as ye hear, they spent the night, and when day came, they armed themselves and took their lovers and their squires, who carried their weapons, and continued their travels toward the sea and Gaul.

Arcalaus arrived at midnight at his castle, terrified by what had happened to him. He ordered its gates closed and that no one be allowed to enter without his permission. He tended to his injuries with the intention of being more evil and doing greater crimes than ever, as evil men do; for although God’s spirit is within them, they do not wish or desire to be released from the mighty chains that the vile Enemy has thrown around them. Instead, enchained, they are taken to the lowest pit of hell, as it must be believed that this evil man was.

Sir Galaor and Norandel and their lovers rode for two days toward a port to go to Gaul, and on the third day they arrived at a castle where they decided to seek shelter. They found the gate open, went inside, and did not encounter a single person. But then a knight came out of a hall who was the lord of the castle, and when he saw them inside, he glowered at his staff because they had left the gate open.

But he greeted the knights with a happy face and received them very well, and did them many honors, although against his will because this knight, named Ambades, was a cousin of Arcalaus the Sorcerer, and he recognized Dinarda, who was his niece, and learned from her how the knights had brought her against her will.

In secret, Ambades’ mother wept with her and wanted to have them killed. But Dinarda told her:

“Do not let this madness take you or my uncle.”

Then she told them how the two knights had defeated Arcalaus’ seven knights, and everything that had happened to him, and said:

“My lady, do them honor, for they are very courageous knights, and tomorrow I and my damsel shall linger, and when they leave, pull up the drawbridge, and thus we shall be safe.”

She, Ambades, and his mother agreed, and they served supper to Sir Galaor and Norandel and their squires, and give them good beds to sleep in. Ambades did not sleep all night because he was so afraid to have such men in his castle. When morning came, he arose and put on his armor, went to his guests, and said:

“My lords, I wish to accompany you and show you the road, since this is my work: to ride armed in search of adventure.”

“Host,” Sir Galaor said, “we would appreciate that.”

Then they were armed, had their lovers mounted on their palfreys, and left the castle. But the host and the damsels remained behind, and when the knights and their squires were outside, the drawbridge was pulled up, and so the trick was executed. Ambades dismounted happily, went to the top of the castle wall, and saw the knights waiting to see someone they could ask about the damsels. He said:

“Go, wicked and lying guests, and may God confound you and give you as bad a night as ye gave me, for the ladies that ye thought to enjoy will remain with me.”

Sir Galaor said:

“Host, what are you saying? Do not be such a man who after having given us this service and pleasure in your home, in the end would do such dishonesty as to take our ladies by force.”

“If it were so,” he said, “it would be a bigger pleasure because the affront would be greater, but I took them willingly because they were forced to travel with their enemies.”

“Let us see them,” Galaor said, “and we shall learn if it is as ye say.”

“I shall do so,” he said, “not to give you pleasure but because ye shall see how detested ye are by them.”

Then he brought Dinarda to the wall, and Sir Galaor told her:

“Dinarda, my lady, this knight says that ye stay there by your will. I cannot believe it given the great love between us.”

Dinarda said:

“If I showed you love, it was due to the overwhelming fear I had, but since ye know that I am the daughter of Ardan Canileo, and ye are the brother of Amadis, how could I be made to love you, especially since ye wish to take me to Gaul where I would be in the power of my enemies? Go, Sir Galaor, and if I did anything for you, do not thank me, and do not remember me as anything but as an enemy.”

“Stay there, then,” Galaor said, “with the ill fate that God may give you, for from a root like Arcalaus, there can only be a bud like you.”

Norandel, who was irate, said to his lover:

“And ye, what shall ye do?”

“The will of my lady,” she said.

“May God confound her will,” he said, “and the will of this evil man for the way he tricked us.”

“If I am evil,” Ambades said, “ye are not such men that I would consider myself honored to defeat.”

“If thou art such a praiseworthy knight as thou sayest,” Norandel said, “come out and fight with me, I on foot and thou on horseback. And if thou wert to kill me, know that thou wouldst eliminate a mortal enemy of Arcalaus, and if I defeat thee, give us the damsels.”

“What a fool thou art,” Ambades said. “I hold you both as nothing. Then, what would I do to thee alone on foot, when I am on horseback? And as for what thou sayest about Arcalaus, my lord, he would not give a straw for twenty like thee or like thy companion.”

He took a Turkish bow and began to fire arrows at them. They pulled back and returned to the road that they had been on before, speaking about how Arcalaus’ vileness extended to all those in his lineage. They both laughed heartily about the answers from Dinarda and their host, and about Norandel’s ire, and about how their host, speaking from safety, held them as so little.


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